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than the Creator; which is idola- , ulties to his service: "Whether try, and real enmity against God. they eat, or drink, or whatever There can be no true, real love to they do, they will do all to the God, but perfect love.
glory of God.' Mankind are un2. Neither saints, nor sinners, der the same obligation to serve have ever any good excuse, for not God with all their strength, as to loving God as He requires, in the love Him with all the heart. first commandment. It is a rea- 5. No one can obey the Gospel, sonable command, corresponding without fulfilling the Law. True, with the character of God, and the disinterested, supreme love to God, capacity of men. No one may for the time being, fulfills the first ever plead inability for not obey- commandment in the Law. But ing this command; for it requires such love is ever implied in obeno more than all the heart, soul, dience to the Gospel. So long as and mind. Disobedience to a com- men are selfish in their affections, mand so reasonable, can arise only and prefer their own interest to from sinful, selfish feelings; or, the Divine glory, they neither remore properly, consists in these; pent of sin, nor believe in Christ, for "i sin is the transgression of the nor become reconciled to God, nor law.” But, there can be no good do any thing which the Gospel reexcuse for siņ; otherwise, sin is quires, or to which it annexes a not sin. Whenever men fail of promise of salvation. The Gospel perfect obedience to the first and does not make void, but establishgreat commandment, God views es the Law. The Gospel offers them as guilty of idolatry, and de- pardon to transgressors, through serving of his wrath.
the atonement of the Lord Jesus 3. No one can, by present obe- Christ; but it is only on condition, dience to the first commandment, that they turn from their transmake any satisfaction for past dis-gressions, and give God the suobedience. As no one can, at any, preme affection of their hearts, as time, love God with more than all his holy Law requires. It was the heart, soul and mind; so this morally impossible, that God should is the constant duty and reasona- offer salvation to men, upon
lower ble service of all mankind. But, terms. Should He receive persehow can men ever make satisfac-vering transgressors to his favour, tion for past offences, by doing He would dishonour his Law, sulwhat is. at present, simply their ly his own Character, and make duty, and for the neglect of which, his Son the minister of sin. It is they would deserve punishment? a truth, never to be forgotten, that
4. Mankind ought constantly to without holiness, no man shall serve God with all their might. see the Lord.' Wherefore, “Let This is no more than the natural the wicked forsake his way, and fruit and effect of loving Him with the unrighteous man his thoughts: all the heart, soul and mind.- and let him return unto the Lord, Those, who love God thus, cannot and He will have mercy upon him; but desire to devote all their time, i and to our God, for He will abunall their powers, and all their fac- dantly pardon.” Amen. .
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE.
a prominent question in theological
enquiry, both among Christian and DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN MORAL heathen nations. This question
has employed the pens of some of Whence cometh evil?' has been the most distinguished polemical
writers, ever since the sixteenth of explanation, it is important to century; and is still far from being observe, that there is no necessity settled in the opinions of philoso- for supposing, nor is there any phers and divines
A variety of reason to believe, that God is the opinions have prevailed, at differ- actor of wickedness. Many supent periods of the world, on the pose, that if God should make any subject; most of which have been person to err from the right way, attended with difficulty, if not He must_necessarily be wicked with absurdity. The ancient Per-himself. This false reasoning prosians, who had made this a subject bably led the Persians to the conof enquiry, supposed there were clusion, that there were two Gods; two Gods, equal in power, one of and has led others into errours, whom was a good being, and the equally absurd. Since this false cause of all the good in the uni- conclusion has blinded the minds of verse; and the other a malevolent so many on this subject, it is imbeing, and the cause of all the evil. portant to point out its fallacy, Even among Christian nations, which lies, either in supposing where but one God is professed to that God always takes delight in be worshipped, there is a diversity every thing he causes to exist, of opinions on this subject. Some simply considered; or that a cause profess to believe, that Satan and must necessarily be of the same the other fallen spirits are the nature with the effect. But both cause of moral evil; and others of these suppositions are contrary have asserted that it is caused by to acknowledged fact; and so the the power of motives. Another argument falls to the ground. class believe, that it has no cause That God is the cause of natural out of the mind. But all these evil, and takes no delight in the theories are attended with difficul- | infliction of it, will be acknowty, and have led those, who have ledged by all Christian nations; attempted to defend them, into nor is it supposed by any, that manifest absurdity. But, by Isai- God has any of the properties of ah, we are informed, that the natural evil within himself. This church in his day were of a differ-establishes a principle, from which ent opinion. The following is re- it is evident, that God may also corded by the pen of inspiration, cause moral evil, without being a as the prayer of the church in a sinner himself, or without taking time of declension and backsliding: delight in it, simply considered. " O Lord, why hast thou made us It is true, there is a natural possito err from thy ways, and harden-bility of God's being a sinner, but ed our heart from thy fear?” It is there is no moral possibility of it. evident from these words, and It is unscriptural to suppose, that from other passages of scripture, God sins himself, in making others that it was a common sentiment to err from his ways. It is said in of the church of God, when under scripture, “He is the Rock, his the immediate eye and preaching work is perfect, for all his ways of the inspired prophets, that It is are judgment, a God of truth and God who makes mankind to err without iniquity, just and right is from his ways. In pursuing this he." Nor have we any reason to subject, it is proposed to explain believe, that in making his creatthis proposition, and prove that ures to err from his ways,
God the church were not in a mistake ever tempts any to sin. Å temptin believing it, and also show some er is
who takes sides with the of the reasons, why God makes sinner, and uses improper motives any to err from his ways. By way to excite him to do wickedly. But
this would be derogatory to the / who made them to err from his Divine character. "i God cannot ways.
This will appear evident, be tempted with evil, neither if we only consider, that creatures tempteth He any man.” Neither is are necessarily dependant on God it reasonable to believe, that God for all they do. · Not that we makes any to err from his ways are sufficient of ourselves,” says against their will. This supposi- the apostle, “ to think any thing tion is absurd; and carries its own as of ourselves, but our sufficiency refutation with it. All sin is vol- is of God.” If we are not suffiuntary. It is impossible for any cient to think any thing of ourperson to sin against his will. Å selves, then we are insufficient to person might indeed be compelled exercise a sinful volition without to do an overt act against his will, God. Many admit, that we are that would be injurious; but it dependant on God for breath and would be no more sinful, than the health and subsistence, but deny blowing of destructive winds. No that we are dependant on God for person blames another for being our actions. But, if we are not compelled to perform actions a- dependant on God for our actions, gainst his will. It is just as impos- it would be impossible for God to sible for God, as it is for man, to controul us, or to foreknow how make any creature sin involuntari- we shall act in future. But God ly. But, by God's making men to not only foreknows how we shall err from his ways, we are to under- act in future, but it is also true, stand, that He turns their heart to that in Him we live and move, and do wickedly; or, to vary the ex- have our being. That the ancient pression, that he moves the will to church were correct in believing choose that which is sinful. This, that it is God who makes us to err indeed, is beyond the power of from his ways, is farther evident man. No creature can turn the from the fact, that every action in heart of another to good or evil. a creature is an effect, and must But it does not follow from this, have an independent cause. А that God cannot. The same Al- cause is something which operates mighty Being, that formed the in order to produce an effect. It will, has power to move it at his is impossible for the mind to cause pleasure. God has power to cause its own actions; for a cause is necone to walk in the road to life and essarily active, and every action in another to choose to walk in the a creature is an effect. There road to death. He has power to must, therefore, be a cause withcause some to " walk in his stat- out the mind. Indeed, we are conutes,” and others “ to err from scious, that we do not put forth a his ways.” It is strange, that any, causing act, while we are acting, who have read the scriptures and which is the cause of our acts of acknowledge their Divine inspira- will. But if we did, it would not tion, should ever have been led remove the difficulty; for the causeither to deny the existence of this ing act would also be an effect, power, or that it is exercised in which must have a cause too ; causing both moral good and moral which, on that supposition, would evil. But, since it is so frequent- run it back into absurdity. If we ly denied, especially in the pro- suppose that Satan or some other duction of moral evil, it is neces- being is the cause of sinful volisary to proceed to prove, that the tions, it will be attended with the ancient church were not in a mis- same difficulty; for he also is a take in believing that it was God dependent being.
therefore, be some independent, it is God, who inclines or turns the active cause: and since there is heart. The appeal of the Holy but one independent being, God Spirit, by the mouth of the promust be the cause. But the Di-phet Amos, is equally pertinent: vine declarations supercede the * Shall there be evil in a city and necessity of urging any further ar- the Lord hath not done it." This guments on the subject. The Ho- is a kind of challenge to any perly Spirit hath saido (Prov. xvi. 1) son to point to any evil, if he •• The king's heart is in the hand could, in the production of which, of the Lord; as the rivers of wa- God has had no hand. The adter, he turneth it whithersoever he dress also to Cyrus, who supposwill.” The following are instan-ed there were two Gods, one of ces in which God did actually turn which was the cause of all good, the hearts of men to both good and and the other the cause of all evil, evil: Eph. ii. 12, 13, “ Work out is decisive: Is. xlv. 7, “There your own salvation with fear and is no God besides me. I form trembling, for it is God, which the light and create darkness, I
, worketh in you both to will and to make peace and create evil. I do of his good pleasure." Zach. the Lord do all these things." See viii. 10, "For before these days also Eph. i. 11, “According to there was no hire for man, nor any the purpose of Him, who worketh hire for beast, neither was there all things after the counsel of his any peace to him that went out or own will." From these unequivocame in, for I set all men every one cal and decisive Divine declaraagainst his neighbour." of Sihon tions, it appears, that the ancient king of Heshbon it is said, Deut. saints were not in a mistake, in beii. 30, “ But he would not let us lieving, that it was God, who made pass by him; for the Lord thy God them to err from his ways. But hardened his spirit and made his since this fact has occasioned so heart obstinate, that he might de- much complaint among mankind, liver him into thy hands, as ap- it may be well to offer some reapeareth this day.” It is also re- sons, not only to vindicate the corded in Exod. x. 1, that the Divine character, but also to show Lord said unto Moses, “ Go in the unreasonableness of the comunto Pharaoh, for I have hardened plaints on account of this truth. his heart and also the hearts of his There is no reason to believe, servants; that I might show these that God makes any to err from my signs before him.” By turning the right way, because he delights to the history of Pharaoh, given in errour and wickedness.
He by the pen of inspiration in the certainly cannot delight in that, cv. Psalm, we find the same fact which is perfectly contrary to the expressed, if possible, still plainer; feelings of his holy heart, and the which it is impossible to misunder- precepts of his holy word. Sin is stand or evade: “ He turned their always an abomination in his sight. heart to hate his people, to deal “ The wicked and him that loveth subtilly with his servants." It is violence his soul hateth." also said, Rev. xvii. 17, “ For the wicked boasteth of his heart's God hath put in their hearts to ful- desire and blesseth the covetous, fil his will, and to agree and give whom the Lord abhorreth.” The their kingdom to the beast.” The Lord Jesus was not pleased, but prayer of David, also, " Incline grieved, at the hardness of heart, my heart to thy testimonies, and which he saw among his hearers. not to covetousness,” implies, that Ner have we any reason to believe,
that God makes any to err from itself; and no authority ever athis ways, as a punishment for pre- tempted to execute such a penalty. vious wickedness. This has usu- A penalty consists in natural evil ally been the last resort of those, only; but sin is not a natural evil. who wish to evade the Divine sov- The lust of the flesh, the lust of ereignty; and is probably attended the eye and the pride of life, to with the most absurdity. But this which God gave up his rebellious notion was never taught in the bi- people, were, in themselves, pleasble. The scriptures do not say, ant to them, and not painful. But that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, pleasure, certainly, is not a punas a punishment for previous wick- ishment. Moral evil may, indeed, edness; but, that he might not be the occasion of natural evil; but choose to let the children of Israel moral evil itself is no punishgo. It is not said, that God harden- ment. ed Sihon's spirit and made his heart This is farther evident from the obstinate, as a punishment upon consideration, that if sin was a him; but, that he might be deliver- punishment, the wicked could have ed into the hands of his enemies, no possible motive to remain wickin order that he might be punished ed another moment. If gluttony with death, the due reward of his or drunkenness were in themselves obstinacy. It is true, that God a punishment, no person would gave up the Jews to their own ever again be intemperate. Or if hearts' 'lust, because they would revenge was itself painful, no murnot hearken to him; and the hea- derer would ever again exercise a then nations to a reprobate mind, murderous spirit. There would because they did not like to retain be no necessity of presenting the God in their knowledge; and also, allurement of an infinite reward that he sent others strong delu- and the terrour of an infinite punsion, that they should believe a lie ishment,” to induce the impenitent and be damned, because they did to renounce their enmity and benot believe the truth, but had come reconciled to God, on this pleasure in uprighteousness. But, supposition. But the truth is, sin there is no intimation, that their is itself a pleasure. Sinners do own hearts' lust, and a reprobate “ take pleasure in unrighteousmind and strong delusions were ness;" and, consequently, it caninflicted, as a punishment for their not be a penalty.
not be a penalty. It is plainly disobedience. There is something, absurd, therefore, to believe, that however, peculiarly striking and God makes any to err from the fearful, in being given up to hard-right way, as a punishment for ness of heart and strong delusion; previous wickedness. as it is a strong indication of final Neither have we any evidence to destruction. But, the notion of believe, that God makes any to err
judicial blindness and hardness from his ways, because he delights of heart, is perfectly visionary and in the punishment he intends to absurd. But, since it is so com- inflict upon them. This would be monly adopted, it may be well to unscriptural; for God hath said, examine the point a little further, with an oath, “ As I live, saith the and demonstrate its absurdity.- Lord God, I have no pleasure in The supposition of a judicial blind the death of the wicked." ness and hardness of heart is con- the Lord doth not afflict willingly, trary to the sense of all law, both nor grieve the children of men. human and Divine. No law ever But one obvious reason, why threatened to punish sin with sin God has made mankind to err from